This flavorful easy to make vegetable biryani (which is also vegan) can be made in one pot and less than 60 minutes! Perfect for learner cooks, no difficult technical cooking skills required, just fluffy spiced rice, chewy chunks of TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein), and tender vegetables every time.
Serve it with plenty of sides for a cheap and filling meal. Due to a shortcut or two, this biryani could technically be considered more a pulao than a biryani, but don’t worry, it sure tastes exactly like biryani!
I use TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) in this dish to give it more texture and chew, but if you’re not a fan you can swap it out for the same quantity of veggies or cubed tofu.
What are the best side dishes with vegetable biryani?
We always eat our biryani with lashings of raita, shorba, and kachumber salad.
I have an easy tomato shorba recipe, and kachumber is basically just chopped tomatoes, onions, and cucumber, with a sprinkle of spices. I normally flavor my kachumber with black salt, cayenne, and chaat masala.
For raita, with biryani I personally prefer onion raita to cucumber raita. Everywhere I go in Europe I am greeted by cucumber raita which is underspiced and generally not the right consistency, it has put me right off cucumber raita!
I’ll be posting a raita recipe in a few days, and also highly recommend any raita recipes on the fabulous Veg Recipes of India website.
How long does it take to make vegetable biryani?
I’m not going to lie, this is not the fastest recipe in the world, even though I have taken a few shortcuts, but you should still be done and have a large tasty pot of vegetable biryani in under an hour.
If you used a pressure cooker, or instant pot, you could probably shave twenty minutes off, but rice is temperamental and with no-stir dishes such as this, I prefer to keep it simple and just use one good non-stick pot.
How do you make vegetable biryani?
Go easy on skipping steps or making substitutions without thinking about the water content you are adding or removing from the dish first. I have tested this recipe out many times and the rice is very sensitive to the amount of water both added and released by the vegetables.
Too much and the biryani will be mushy, too little and the rice will still be hard. You need to go a bit Goldilocks on this and get it just right, so follow the instructions and measurements as closely as possible.
Take the three cups of basmati rice and soak them in enough water to cover the rice completely for 30 minutes. In the meantime, finely slice and fry the onions, along with the cardamon pods and cinnamon stick, in the sunflower oil until brown and partly caramelized.
If you can’t find brown cardamom it’s okay to make the biryani without it, but I urge you to look for it. It has a lovely subtle smokey flavour.
While the onion is frying, take your chili, garlic, onion and lemon juice and blend or process to a smooth paste. Stir this paste into the TVP, along with the ginger powder.
The chunks should be nicely coated. Note that big chunks of TVP are preferred in biryani, as smaller mincemeat-style granules don’t really add much texture. If you’re subbing the TVP for the same amount of tofu, cut into small cubes, then you can also coat them with this paste.
If you’re adding extra vegetables instead of TVP, you can just mix the paste into the vegetables later.
Prepare your vegetables, and microwave the potato and carrot chunks, in a covered container with a tablespoon of water four four minutes.
When your rice has soaked long enough, drain it and add the salt and oil to it, mixing well. Turn the heat up high on your onions and add in the TVP chunks and paste. Fry for about 3-4 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add the salt and pepper, peas, vegetables, and the rest of the ingredients.
Stir well and place a lid on the pot. Make sure very little steam is escaping or you may have to put some tin foil between the lid and the pot. Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to the lowest temperature possible. Cook for twenty minutes.
Take off the heat, and moving very quickly so as to minimize loss of steam, take off the lid and quickly stir the biryani with a fork, making sure to bring the drier top layer to the bottom. Replace the lid as fast as possible and leave to sit for an additional 15 minutes.
Your delicious biryani is now ready!
- 3 cups uncooked basmati rice
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp sunflower oil plus one teaspoon,
- 4 medium onions
- 6 green cardamon
- 2 brown cardamon
- 1 long cinnamon bark (5 inch) or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 chili pepper or ¼ tsp cayenne
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 9 cloves garlic
- juice one medium lemon
- 1.5 cups soy chunks (TVP)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 cup cubed potatoes
- 1.5 cup cubed carrots
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 6 tbsp coconut cream
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2.5 tsp biryani or garam masala powder
- 4 cups water (960ml)
- One vegetable stock cube
- Soak the basmati rice in enough water to cover it by an inch for 30 minutes.
- Finely slice two of the onions and slowly fry on a medium heat with the green and brown cardamon, and cinnamon bark, until brown. If you are using ground cinnamon, add to the paste in the next step instead.
- While the rice is soaking and the onion is browning, roughly chop the two remaining onions and blend or process with the chili pepper, lemon juice and garlic, until a smooth paste.
- Mix the ground ginger into the paste and coat the TVP with it. Leave aside.
- Prepare the vegetables by chopping into small cubes about 1 - 1.5 cm wide. Zap the potato and carrot cubes in the microwave for four minutes in a covered container with one tablespoon of water.
- Drain the basmati rice well after 30 minutes and mix in one tsp oil and one tsp salt.
- Add the tvp chunks to the fried onions and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and stir one minute more.
- Now add the peas, black pepper, coconut cream, turmeric, water, stock cube (crumbled) and the biryani masala or garam masala. Mix very well.
- Cover the pot tightly with a lid and bring to the boil. Once the biryani has started boiling, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and leave to cook for 20 minutes.
- After twenty minutes, moving very quickly to allow the least amount of steam to escape, take the biryani off the heat and stir vigorously with a fork to force the drier top layer of rice down to the bottom. Cover again and leave for 15 minutes off the heat. Your biryani is now ready to be served.
Amount Per Serving Calories 398 Total Fat 13g Saturated Fat 4g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 9g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 978mg Carbohydrates 65g Fiber 6g Sugar 22g Protein 7g